Archives for April, 2013

Expert Witness Reports on Equity Release Concluded

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The first 2 reports drawn up by the compay Muntaudit (http://muntaudit.es/) have now been received.

One refers to Nykredit/Sydbank and the second one to Finansbanken/Sparekassen Lolland Equity Release products.

The first point that the independent firm of financial auditors has highlighted is that the product was taken out for the purpose of obtaining a tax advantage and securing an income stream. The report then notes the following:

  • The contract of Equity Release was offered to pensioners as a way to improve their quality of living by providing an additional income stream (in addition to the false tax advantages).
  • The contract does not clearly warn of the risks involved in the transaction¬†-interest rate risk, exchange rate risk, price risk, market risk, operational risk, lack of liquidity risk, early redemption risk (on the side of the bank)-
  • It is considered to be a high-risk complex instrument.
  • The contract does not include the TAE clause (in English, APR or Annual Percentage Rate)
  • The ability of ever producing a result as advertised by the bank and agents, irrespective of the investor profile, is very low.
  • For a low risk investor, the product has an almost 100% probability of producing a negative result from the very moment it is signed.
  • The product is classified as “high-risk” and not suitable for a low risk investor.
  • The client profile, highly conservative retail investor, had specific and concrete requirements and as such, had they known the type of investment they were getting into, these contracts¬†would have not been taken out.¬†
The reports will be used in the legal claims that are being filed against banks who marketed, offered and mis-sold Equity Release products to a very large contingent of pensioners residing in Spain.

SLMH and Henry Woods, Equity Release fraud at its best

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The Surrenda Link Mortgage Holding fell for the fake tax mitigation scheme that Charles “Charlie” Walton, based in Estepona, came up with. Just how any bank could have been so stupid to believe it is shocking but more worryingly is the fact that trusting customers, conned in the most despicable manner, have to be chasing this bank to obtain a resolution to their plight.

Below is a letter that was sent to SLMH by lawyers acting for a victim:

 

Dear Sirs

As you may be aware, the above customers took out a mortgage with your company between the years 2006 and 2007. The purpose of this mortgage was to reduce the taxable value of their property, with a view to pay a lesser IHT, and to create at the same time an income stream that would enable them to improve their lifestyle, given that they are all pensioners.

It is my understanding that Mr. Charles Walton, from the Premier Group, introduced this scheme in Spain some years back and convinced the SLM Group to provide the loans. This seems clear from the information below:

http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/international-investment/news/1329056/premier-offers-spanish-iht-mitigation

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/4195059/How-to-make-Spanish-property-pay.html

The following also appear to be true:

  1. Both Premier and SLM devised, planned, promoted and sold the product to British pensioners, under the appealing name SITIRS (Spanish Investment Transfer and Income Release Scheme), on the basis of one very clear message: ‚Äúreduce the value of your property or face paying a very high tax rate‚ÄĚ. The fraudulent and misleading advertising for this artifice is undisputed. ¬†
  2. The product was also deceitfully sold as a means to raise cash and provide an income stream, being self-sustainable: pensioners were not required to have an income (SITIRS brochure read ‚Äúthere are no income proof requirements from loan providers‚ÄĚ).
  3. SLM was not regulated to provide mortgage loans in Spain, as is required by any entity that wishes to professionally provide such service in Spain. The footer warning note amply inserted in promotional literature is no mitigating factor to the lack of compliance with this non-waiverable requirement. If at all, it shows that in spite of knowing the existence of certain regulatory obligations, SLMH chose to infringe them deliberately.  
  4. SLM instructed unregulated IFA to capture clients in Spain, against mandatory regulatory provisions. Hamiltons Financial Services is one of such agents and was used as a means for SLM and Premier Group to further their business in Spain. We find the allegation that the pseudo- IFA¬īs were in fact hired by the customer as an excuse that deforms reality and is obviously untrue. ¬†
  5. SLM instructed unregulated property valuers in Spain to capture clients, against mandatory regulatory provisions. Cluttons is one of such examples.

We would like to enter into a constructive dialogue in respect of these products, with a view to terminating the contracts on grounds that they are based on an illicit cause (tax evasion proposition), sold misleadingly as being able to legally reduce IHT taxes (irrespective of whether customers could have had independent advice), sold misleadingly as a means to provide an income for the duration of the term of the loan and utterly inadequate for the customer¬īs profile.

Should you deem the above proposition acceptable, I am be happy to discuss the procedure to achieve the a settlement on this matter.

Yours faithfully

Equity Release for UK Home Owners

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Equity Release for UK Home Owners was also publicized for Inheritance Tax mitigation purposes, supposedly in compliance with English tax laws on the matter. But was it also a time-bomb, like the Spanish devious taxman depicted is openly warning us all?

How come no Spanish bank ever offered such a revolutionary product to national taxpayers?

Did they know something the very clever Luxembourg-based Scandinavians milking hard-working Spanish-based British expats missed?

Were Spanish banks so inept at marketing that Rothschild had to fly out to teach them a few things on successful new-product launching?

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